Books Galore

I have always been a book lover, for as long as I can remember, even as a toddler. I didn't have a "best friend" till my early teens. Never really needed one either. I always had books to give me company. Every time Dad visited Patna from Kanpur (when we used to stay in Kanpur), he used to get a bunch of books for me as gift. I loved those gifts.

And I remember a distant relative from my mother's side once sent me a collection of four pocket-size novels. They were abridged versions of some very famous English classics like Great Expectations and Around the World in 80 Days. I was about 9 years old at that time, and totally thrilled.

At an even younger age, somebody gave me a set of fairy tales, like Snow White, Hansel and Gratel etc. That set had more pictures than text... very pretty pictures. I had that set in my collection for a very long time too.

In those days, traveling by train was looked forward to for many reasons, one of them being that I always got at least a couple of new books from those A.H. Wheeler stands at the railway stations.

And when my grandfather (mom's father) had his open heart surgery in Chennai long long ago, both my sister and I got a mammoth collection each, of children stories. Two extremely large, hard-bound, beautifully illustrated books, with such glossy pages! My sister wasn't that obsessed with books (as in she didn't eat, sleep, dream them... just read them once and that was all!)... so for all practical purposes, both the books went into my collection! I think I was on seventh heaven for a very long time after that!

Actually, some of my school friends might remember... I had all my books properly cataloged back then! I maintained a file (like our project files you know), having a separate page for each author/series (Sidney Sheldon, Nancy Drew, Jeffrey Archer, Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Perry Mason, P.G. Wodehouse, and so many others). Odd books were clubbed under "Miscellaneous". And those of my classmates who borrowed books regularly from me, they had their own individual page too in that file, in which I used to make a note of the date of borrowing, name of the book, and the date of returning etc. Like a proper library, yeah!

Life used to be blissful back then. But several relocations and lack of enough space forced us to part with our awesome collection of books, both mine as well as my Dad's (which, obviously, would have been bequeathed to me eventually).

I now have a very few books of fiction left with me -- the Harry Potter series, the LOTR series, the Twilight Saga series, and some other random new purchases. I have a whole lot of Mills & Boons got on rent from somewhere years ago, but they've still not been read! And I have some Wilbur Smiths borrowed from my uncle, again unread, because they happen to be part of a series -- the *ending* part of the series!

I have a lot of books related to Reiki etc. now, and most of my computer books that we didn't throw away. Nevertheless, my entire collection now is not even half of what it used to be earlier.

Anyway, I recently bought a book almirah for storing all my books. We really needed to free all those odd places in our several cupboards and Dad's "office desk" where these books had been "stowed away" lately! Besides, I was kind of losing track of where I'd "packed" a particular book, and the regular "book hunts" were driving me nuts!

So here's a picture of my new book almirah. Managed to dig out all my books from their various "hiding places" throughout the house... and arranged them in my new book almirah yesterday. "Lost" my LOTR series for several agonizing minutes, but it was eventually discovered behind a pile of clothes in the top shelf of my sister's old almirah!

And finally, I started on the Mark Twain collection I'd purchased on my last trip to Delhi almost a year ago. (Well I'd also purchased a collection of Charles Dickens and some other couple of books back then, but you see, they just got buried under stuff all this while! What else do you expect in chaos!)

So anyways, Dad is leaving for Delhi on Tuesday. And that makes it a perfect time for me to lose myself in books... in the experiences of strange people, in stranger places and eras! [wink]

P.S. - Isn't it fun revisiting your childhood through these timeless books of those days gone by?

Here's more in Books.

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Roshmi Sinha said...

Ah! Books... my favourite topic as well. Your post made me walk down nostalgia lane. I too had a huge collection of books: Noddy, Enid Blyton, Snow White, Cinderella, the whole lot of children's books and fairy tales, Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha, and more. Books in English and in Bengali...

But due to the big bad wolf of 'relocation'... I was forced to part with these gems and more... :( :( :(

Rachit said...

Snow white and Seven Dwarfs are my ll time favorite... I studied it back in early school days and yet I remember each and every part of it.. ohhh, Around the world In 80 Days.. I never read that but yeah I can relate with it, all thanks to Disney cartoon and Sony Channel.. :P

Venice said...

Your story is so very similar to mine! Unlike other girls who would buy every doll and Barbie possible, I would go with my father to the market and buy books!! I remember, my very first book that I read on my own was the 'Aesop's Fables' - It was a mammoth book with lovely illustrations... sadly, it got lost when we were shifting to a new city.

But, seriously, books and music too [who doesn't love music] are great company! I can totally get lost in a book and withdraw from my surroundings - to all those wonderful or horrific places, depending on the genre of the book.

Lovely post and, super-nice Book Case/Cupboard/Almirah :) Cheers!! -- Venice.

Shobhit said...


I hope you don't regret that I've now seen that new almirah full of books... :P

I'm planning to search, collect and arrange all my books one of these days. Once I do that, you'll get to see my books arranged likewise too. :D

That's why I never ever let my old books to be parted with me. That's a direct link for one's childhood. :-)

Kaddu said...

@ Roshmi: Oh Noddy! I forgot Noddy! I once got a collection of Noddy too as gift from someone! Oh those golden days! Relocation sure is bad! :(

Kaddu said...

@ Rachit: I recently re-read Around the World in 80 Days too... but that was in ebook. Don't have a print version of it anymore.

And Snow White... some of my neighborhood friends & I celebrated Christmas once long ago... with bonfire & all... & we performed several short skits out of memory, including Snow White & the Merchant of Venice. Still remember this line from Snow White... "Mirror Mirror on the wall... who's the fairest of them all?" :p

Kaddu said...

Oh yes Venice! Dolls were such a waste of money when you could get books for that money instead! And it seems like relocation and books just don't go well with each other!

And you remember that line from Reid & Taylor Ad?... "Books are a machine for time travel." One of my favorite quotes. And isn't it true?

Thanks for the appreciation! :) See ya...

Kaddu said...

@ Shobhit: Arre... why would I regret yaar? But tell me... how many such almirahs would your books fill? Six? Or even more than that? I'm really curious, you know! :D

As for not parting with your books... well you're lucky. You have a permanent residence. Rolling stones like us cannot gather too much moss! :(

Parul said...

We almost the read the same books as kids :D This is a great post and I enjoyed reading it..Well that almirah looks like the one we had in school library :)

Chicky said...

LOL! Really, Parul? It reminded you of the school library? :P
Well it is actually a very standard model, available in most steel furniture shops. Available color combinations are more now though.

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